"Growing up in the 1980's, you were surrounded by mysteries"
--Rob Sheffield, Talking To Girls About Duran Duran
This one of my favorite quotes from this hilarious, endearing and relatable memoir about being a teenager in the 80's. "Talking" is a follow up to Sheffield's previous memoir "Love Is A Mixtape." My other favorite quote is "When Michael Jackson, John Hughes, and Patrick Swayze all died, it should have been declared a national day of mourning." The book is a fun assortment of nostalgia, especially for those who came of age during this time.
The chapters in Talking To Girls About Duran Duran are all divided by a particular artist in which a certain song is emphasized due to it's impact on his life. Here are some highlights:
Chapter 1:The Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed" -1980- Reflects upon growing up with his older sisters and how they would help change his image.
Chapter 2: David Bowie "Ashes To Ashes" -1980 - Sheffield describes the creepy video and the evolution of David Bowie's voice and sound.
Chapter 4: The Rolling Stones "She's So Cold" -1981- Describes his hilarious stint on the wrestling team in which he was 0-14. He also tells of being in English class (in the class of 1984) and reading Orwell's 1984 while thinking how funny it would've been if Winston had been afraid of rabbits instead of rats.
Chapter 5: Human League "Love Action" -1982- Discusses going to the public library to check out The Human League's "Dare" cassette. It's interesting to hear him describe how moved he was to see the artists' mascara eyes, lipstick mouths, and nobody smiling. Sheffield gives a brief lesson on the "New Romantics" movement spotlighting Depeche Mode, Culture Club, OMD, Duran Duran, Thompson Twins, and Yaz.
Chapter 6: OMD "Enola Gay" -1982- The author tells of his time in Madrid Spain on a student exchange program. Learning to dance with Spanish girls to Depeche Mode, Haircut 100 and OMD. There is a very funny part where he takes his Spanish friends to see the cult classic "Airplane" and he ends up being the only one in the theater laughing. He suspects the film was misunderstood because of the dubbing and cultural differences.
Chapter 7: Culture Club "I'll Tumble 4 You" -1982- Includes some lively debates in the lunchroom over whether Billy Idol was punk or new wave, and if ZZ Top were new wave? Were The Clash new wave or punk? Was Spandau Ballet new wave or rock? He describes feeling that all of these pop stars were battling for dominance over his soul: "Joe Strummer urged me to fight war and intolerance and Prince urged me to join his sexual revolution."
Chapter 9: Roxy Music "More Than This" -1982- Beautiful chapter on the importance of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music and their connection to The Great Gatsby.
Chapter 10: Bonnie Tyler "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" -1983- Brilliant flashback in which he was threatened with murder on a train by a stranger. Hitchcock would be proud.
Chapter 12: Flock Of Seagulls "Space Age Love Song" -1982- His first concert experience: A Flock Of Seagulls, The Fixx and The Police at The Sullivan Theater in Foxboro Mass, August 1983. Here Sheffeld tells of a humorous story from the 90's in which he encounters A Flock Of Seagulls and describes how bitter and hostile the bandmembers had become, probably due to the years and years of being made fun of for their ridiculous hairstyles. He states that all the bandmembers had all had shaved heads with baseball caps at this time.
Chapter 14: Prince "Purple Rain"-1984- Recalls his first job as an ice cream driver who would "get high on his own stash" and end up eating more ice cream than he sold. He also exposes the "shady underworld" of the ice cream business. He cruised around listening to "Purple Rain", "99 Luftballoons", "Roxanne", Ghostbusters", "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", "Missing You", "Dancing In The Dark" (which the author enjoyed singing in Spanish).
Chapter 15: Paul McCartney "No More Lonely Nights" -1984- Demonstrates why Paul was the "Bitchy Beatle" and yet the hardest working one as well.
Chapter 16: Madonna "Crazy For You" -1985- Beautiful chapter on why Madonna was the amazing entertainer that she used to be. Used to be...
Chapter 18: The Smiths "Ask" -1986- In the best chapter of the book, the author takes Morrissey's lyrics and turns it into a hilarious conversation: Tuesdays With Morrissey.
Chapter 24: L'Trimm "Cars With The Boom" -1989- The most emotional chapter in the book. Shares a very sad story about the sad life and death of his wife who died young.
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Thank you for reading & enjoy.